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Action Learning Values: How Can Companies Benefit From It?

by Dec 8, 2020Employee engagement, Gamification, SDG Goals0 comments

Action Learning Values: How Can Companies Benefit From It?

The constantly changing environment and global challenges require businesses to both act and learn. With growing competition, globalisation, innovation and digitisation, businesses need to learn how to solve problems quickly and effectively. Above all, they need to master how to implement new concepts into their strategies. Action learning is a perfect method which encourages these processes. In this article, you can read more about action learning values.

What is action learning?

Action Learning consists of a combination of group discussions, group and individual coaching sessions, and training aiming to develop skills. This method engages participants in a process of solving a real problem in real time. Therefore, it not only contributes to solving a company’s challenges but also helps employees to develop their skills. Our previous article provides a thorough description of what action learning is and how such a process looks like. 

reading - traditional form of learning
Action learning is more effective than traditional forms of learning, e.g. e-learning.

Why action learning?

There are many ways to acquire new knowledge, from classes and lectures, through workshops, to e-learning and webinars. These forms of learning are called traditional learning. How is action learning different? 

While traditional learning focuses on a teacher and knowledge presentation, action learning enables all participants to reflect on their actions. This is then a guidance for future action and performance improvement. By researching their own actions learners gain new knowledge which contributes to improvement of skills. This type of learning is therefore more effective than traditional learning.

Traditional learning in forms of lectures, workshops or e-learning is a source of 10-20% of knowledge one can learn at work. What is more, only 1% of an employee’s improvement comes from traditional learning. Action learning is informal learning – it is more personal, hence learners are being pulled to it. Moreover, it generates a stimulating atmosphere which enables participants to absorb and retain information. This ensures more engagement and better results. This study by J. Patrick McCarthy and Liam Anderson proves that “active learning techniques can sometimes more effectively impart information than traditional formats”.

Action learning and sustainability

To actively engage in sustainability one needs to not only learn and understand the concept but also be able to take actions. Action learning makes sustainability relatable and actionable as participants engage in the learning process actively. Employees can get involved in a discussion or role-playing exercises which help them discover different perspectives. Practising sustainability ensures the development of new skills and creates a significant impact on participants. What is more, action learning encourages cognitive and behavioural change which lead to improvement of performance. And behavioural change is of the utmost importance when it comes to sustainability transition. Acquiring theoretical knowledge or concept’s understanding is not enough to implement the change.

What values does action learning bring?

Even though it may seem that the organisation is the only party that benefits from it, employees gain a lot too. There are 7 values of action learning, including:

  1. Developing a coaching culture
  2. Enhancing proactivity and problem-solving mindset
  3. Emphasising greater individual responsibility
  4. Improving collaboration 
  5. A significant development in strategic projects, and achievement of real business results 
  6. Working on real problems, challenges and projects
  7. Receiving new perspectives
People discussion
Group discussions are an inevitable part of action learning.

1. Developing a coaching culture

Experiences and skills gained through action learning can be valuable in the future. Using our Sustainability Engagement Platform will have a positive impact on different aspects of your organisation. For instance, new knowledge may be applied to different circumstances and help to address various challenges. Additionally, skills that have been developed thanks to action learning may be crucial in solving different problems. Finally, once established coaching culture will become a part of your company’s working culture. In result, better understanding, feedback, and communication among co-workers will improve problem-solving and decision-making processes.

2. Enhancing proactivity and problem-solving mindset

Action learning enhances proactivity by empowerment and group discussions. The ability to express one’s perspectives during group discussions can encourage a proactive approach. Participants who are empowered to proactively search for a solution develop a problem-solving mindset. This study shows that active learning participants feel more empowered to approach their managers with ideas of improvement.

3. Emphasising greater individual responsibility

Action learning may encourage feelings of confidence, assertiveness and a sense of independence. Therefore, participants feel greater individual responsibility. Employees gain a set of skills that encourage taking the initiative in their work. Consequently, they do not rely on their managers to offer an idea of a problem solution, but take action themselves. Finally, taking responsibility improves employees’ productiveness.

“All the participants mentioned that they had developed confidence through participating in the action learning sessions and that they applied the competencies in their work.” Masango-Muzindutsi, Z., Haskins, L., Wilford, A. et al.

4. Improving collaboration 

Improvement in collaboration between department or teams is another value of action learning. Those who are in the process of action learning improve their collaboration and confidence in a group. Consequently, they become a high performing team. Employees have the opportunity to learn what are the strengths of their co-workers and how to benefit from them. Additionally, participants learn to trust one another which positively impacts their collaboration.

5. A significant development in strategic projects, and achievement of real business results  

Our platform enables participants to develop problem-solving skills which they will practically apply to their work. In result, employees will manage their work more effectively and achieve real business results. Additionally, the process of action learning may improve employees’ critical thinking skills. When applied to work, these skills help to develop relevant solutions and strategic projects. In consequence, they help to bring better results and increase the company’s profitability.

6. Working on real problems, challenges and projects

Working on abstract problems is less effective and less engaging. Thus, our platform is tailored for a particular organisation and its unique challenges. It enables employees to work on actual projects and discuss real solutions. In result making the experience more relatable – employees can easily relate their work to other challenges. Moreover, according to Masango-Muzindutsi, Z., Haskins, L., Wilford, A. et al. employees “often encounter similar problems in their respective work environments, so they could use similar ideas and solutions” in their own projects. 

7. Receiving new perspectives

Action learning requires participants to consider challenges and opportunities from various perspectives. Therefore, it encourages understanding of different aspects of a particular position. Put in new roles, employees can contribute with thorough knowledge from their own department. Therefore, provide new perspectives and solutions for the person in that role. This aspect of action learning is a great value to the company.

Scrabble - metaphor for cooperation, contemplation and teamwork.
Action learning enables participants to research their own actions.

How 2030 Builders implemented action learning?

2030 Builders provides a Sustainability Engagement Platform to engage and upskill employees. Our product is tailored to fit your organisation’s needs. Thus, during the learning process, participants are working on real projects and resolving real problems. Therefore, resources allocated in action learning are spent on actual work. Moreover, this type of learning places a great emphasis on the development of both individuals and teams. In our sustainability solution, participants are engaging in both individual and group tasks. Similarly, development and learning are basic principles supplemented with joint problem-solving and decision-making. Action learning engages in problem-solving tasks while providing indirect guidance to the participants. Our solution provides a virtual facilitator called Hope, that guides participants through the entire learning experience. Our action learning helps to develop a common understanding of sustainability and anchors an organisation’s strategy. Aligned understanding and strategy are key to the successful operation of your business.

Action learning is an effective and practical method to implement sustainability solutions in your company, regardless of its size. Time, energy and financial resources used to facilitate the learning process for your employees reward your organisation with upskilled employees and improved employer branding This refers both to managers and other employees on all levels of the organisation. They not only develop their skills but also acquire new ones becoming valuable assets of the company.

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